Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Parenthood is a beautiful experience and it is wholeheartedly fascinating watching your kids mature from babies to young adults. Yet it is also scary at times and keeps you on edge as thoughts of their safety invade your consciousness incessantly throughout the day, every day of the week. For these reasons and more I would like everyone to pledge to become more focused drivers on Drive Safe Today Day.
I test-drive hundreds of new vehicles a year as part of my job as an automotive journalist. Accordingly, “lead by example so your child becomes the example” is my mantra behind the wheel. As a Fit Father of two young ladies and the publisher of Automotive Rhythms, it is absolutely paramount that I teach them the proper habits for reducing the variables that can equate to bad traffic incidents or accidents. That means driving with two hands on the wheel, always wearing a seatbelt, using Bluetooth and voice instructions instead of texting, talking without the phone in hand, as well as forgoing any other negative behavior such as eating food or looking in the vanity mirror while the car is in motion. For example, the 9 and 3 steering wheel hand position is better than 10 and 2 since it gives you 200 degrees of motion. With this simple technique you will have more range to steer your vehicle out of the path of an obstructing object.
In addition, another important educational aspect of developing my girls’ driving proficiency/skills is instruction in the basics required for understanding vehicle dynamics and awareness of both traffic situations and other drivers around them. Knowing how soon to brake is a prime example. That means seeing things early to prevent an incident. If attention is diverted by looking at your phone’s screen, then reaction time will be reduced, which is not good. Also make sure to look down the road where you want to go and point the vehicle there. Your hands will follow your eyes. Speeding is not a good habit either. Sometimes my youngest tells me to driver faster, especially if we are testing a sports car since I am liable to be evaluating a new vehicle every week. With candor I explain to her how speeding can cause a bad accident. Furthermore, it may get us pulled over and fined a ticket, I explain to her. She never likes to hear that.
With today’s world spearheaded by digital communication, kids are bombarded with non-stop information, from social media to texting. They feel as though responses have to be immediate. Well, adults too for that matter. The distractions in their space are omnipresent and can make it daunting getting around town safe and sound. Consequently, I will utilize my 22 years of experience in the automotive industry to take the pledge and share automotive safety content year-round with the Automotive Rhythms audience. I will also continue to educate my 12-year-old and 9-year old daughters on the best safe driving practices on Drive Safe Today Day. Will you join me? I truly hope so!
This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. For additional driving safety tips, check out Progressive’s Drive Safe Today Day program.